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MoonLinks: Houston, This Ain’t A Problem

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The Halos split with the ‘stros, and now split off to Seattle. Let’s win some games under our glorious moon.

New York Yankees v. Boston Red Sox

In the grand scheme of things, the Angels are just a couple of weeks away from near-full strength. Noe Ramirez will be back from suspension, Keynan Middleton and JC Ramirez are due back at the end of the month. Jonathan Lucroy will be back shortly thereafter. That just leaves Tommy LaStella and some dude who used to play third base. on the IL. You gotta be feeling pretty good, right?

Matt Harvey IS back, and to the full Matt Harvey strength with which we are familiar. More Dork Night than Dark Knight. He allowed 5 runs in his first three innings. His line when all was done was 6 total runs (all easily earned) over 6 innings, 7 hits (2 as home runs) and 5 walks against 1 K. Even more fun was that there were only 3 pitches he threw all evening where the Astros batters swung and missed. Jose Altuve swung and missed at one in the first inning. Josh Reddick swung and missed at one in the second inning. And Tyler White swung and missed at one immediately after Reddick’s AB. Every other time the Astros took their bat off their shoulder they made some kind of contact. That’s what you hope to get out of your batting practice pitcher.

At this point I would have far more confidence with just Griffin Canning and Andrew Heaney as fixed starters, and then bullpenning the other 3 games making sure to leverage the 40-man (which will then include Middleton and Ramirez) as to not wear out arms.

Mike Trout is also back. Trout got a double in his last at bat, ending up 1 for 4 with a run scored (magically, as it was fielder’s choice plus an error that led to scoring on an Albert Pujols base hit). Honestly, that was A LOT better than I expected from not playing competitively since Saturday, shy of a little running around for a few minutes on Sunday. We have learned over the years that the trick to stopping Trout is to get him injured so that he loses an entire month getting his groove back.

The offense was absent. Flummoxed again. Add it up and the Angels lose, 6-2. Astros escape Anaheim with a split.

And now, as we take on the Mariners up in Seattle.

Last night was a full moon. For the next three nights, waning gibbous, 94% of the earth-facing moon surface will be visible tonight, then 89%, and 82% on Sunday. Take advantage. Look up. Pause and take a few moments to think about something far greater than just yourself. For 30,000 years humans have been looking up at that object with wonder and imagination. For most of that time the moon was impossible to understand. Then, for the past few hundred years, it was impossible to reach. But 50 years ago our society used imagination, committed to the necessary understanding, and overcame the impossible. A couple of us went there, stepped outside, walked around, scooped up some of the rocks, and came home. You are reading this, so that legacy belongs to you and you are swimming in the betterments of that commitment. Take a deep breath and imagine again. If you are old enough, rekindle the joy. If you are young enough, claim your portion of that shared joy. Congratulations. To all of us.

Celebrate humanity’s finest achievement this weekend with these Man-In-The-Moon-HaloLinks:


A Little Bit Of Angels News

Jarret Parker was outrighted. That means he cleared waivers and is on his own. He was taken off the 40-man earlier this week............

These clips did not come out in time for yesterday’s Links, so here we get to celebrate the ongoing adventures of Justin Upton in left field. before you go off on him (because, yeah, he really is error-prone), know that if Upton had enough PA to be qualified, he would rank among the Top 10 best LF defenders in MLB. And that includes this play............

($$) - I’m glad that Matt Thaiss ranks as a Top 10 MLB 1b prospect. I would be a lot gladier if he were ranked as a Top 10 prospect at 3B.........

Tyler Skaggs memorial mural is now complete..........


Everywhere In Baseball

No link. Just an observation. Someday I want to trip over the explanation as to why teams choose different numbers of minutes past the hour for starting home games. For the Yankees, it’s 5 minutes past the hour. For the Halos, it’s 7 minutes. Seattle picks 10 minutes and the Cardinals pick 15 minutes past the hour. And so it goes. Why is that not uniform?..............

A reminder that this is the Baseball Hall of Fame weekend, and Tim mead will be in his first spotlight as President..........Everything you need to know...........

Showing emotions on the field in the heat off battle? Yeah, I am all for it. Taunting your opponent like Hector Neris did the other night? No. Stupid. That’s not “let the kids play”. That’s just asking for shit in a sport that has so much idle time for guys to use for getting pissed off. Football has anti-taunting rules for a reason, and they work well. MLB needs to institute same............(By the way, I looked it up and, no, Heris has not “blown about eight saves against us over the last two years” as Max Muncy wants to claim. Not even close.)..........

Yep. I am not the only one who has noticed that the Oakland A’s are playing with witchcraft. They sold their souls to a WC game last year and have opened a portal to the underworld that seems to be guaranteeing an unnatural number of victories. FanGraphs is flummoxed and Deadspin is bowing in subjugation. Deadspin, like me, is holding off final judgement until after the upcoming schedule challenge where the A’s finally battle through a lengthy run of tough competition. That run, I must admit, does not include the Angels. The Angels are not offering up any form of competition for the A’s this year, being only 5 and 9 against them.........

We got RoboUmp momentum today! Don Mattingly is on board after getting bounced arguing in the first game of a doubleheader against the Rays. The big one for Mattingly was this pitch by Kirby Yates to Curtis Granderson to finish the game. Properly called, that pitch is ball 4 and the bases are now loaded for Cesar Puello in a 1-run game...........And Aaron Boone couldn’t last 2 innings yesterday as plate umpire Brennan Miller was calling only his 5th MLB game and was all over the place...........

The Astros are hearing the footsteps as the AL West is slowly turning into a race, and the Houston faithful are starting to feel fear..........

The ways that we are continually learning new ways to do crazy things with a pitched baseball shall always charm me. Luke Jackson has a slider, but his slider is unconventional. So unconventional that tracking systems don’t have an appropriate sub-category for it like they do for various types of fastballs. It’s just categorized as ‘slider’ and leave it at that.........

Oh? The way to “restore competitive balance” in the MLB is to impose indentured servitude upon the last pool of prospect talent left on Planet Earth? In proposing an international draft, “Rather than assign picks based on record, MLB is experimenting with rotating by division -- the American League East would have the top five picks one year, the National League East the next, and so on until the six-year cycle is complete. It’s a concept similar to ones proposed in other sports to combat rampant tanking...”. As the article notes, this has to be approved by the Players’ Association. A draft is a huge want for the owners because of how it will reduce their costs. This means that the Union has a big bat to use to wallop the owners into conceding elsewhere, which they shall. And to us 3rd-party observers, this will end up being yet another instance of union seniority selling out the fortunes of non-seniority members for the sake of something of value for the seniority membership..........

I don’t why the emphasis on Jake Marisnick being a good guy. I don’t think of him as a bad person. I merely think of him as a baseball player who was in possession of the obligation to make a safe play, who made a very bad decision at the very wrong time, and then balled up and parked another player in the hospital as a consequence of protecting himself. I think it was an accident, and that it was unfortunate, and that it was entirely Marisnick’s fault for which he alone is accountable. Good guys eff up, too. Had Joe Torre busted him for more than the minimum, it would not have changed the fortunes of the Astros one bit and would have blown over everything that actually has happened subsequent.........

On June 7th the Nationals were 7 games under .500. They are now 6 games over .500 and rising. People are all giddy. What happened? Well, nothing miraculous, as the article wants us to believe. What happened was a schedule run against the Padres, White Sox, Diamondbacks, Phillies, Marlins, Tigers, Marlins again, Royals, Phillies again, and Orioles. In the middle of that were 3 games against the Braves, where they lost 2...........


Trade Rumors

What with the Angels general success rate at building a starting rotation these past few years, there are some very intriguing names popping up in the market who are becoming quite affordable. A guy like Zack Wheeler, for example. On the IL? Check. Shoulder fatigue? Check. Fancy-pants reputation? Check. Yep, perfect fit for Anaheim. Another would be a guy with a dazzling 142 ERA+, and a league-leading 3.00 ERA, a FIP of 3.55. Super Glitzy name. Did all of those things happen way back in 2015? Yes! Are all of those numbers now at or near the league cellar? Yes! So let’s go talk to the Toronto Blue Jays about swinging a deal for Aaron Sanchez..........

I find it interesting that some teams are looking to pick off pitching talent from the Texas Rangers. They are having a tough few games at the moment, but they are only 5 games out of a WC spot and have been doing much better in 2019 than expected. I suppose the theory is that should the Rangers continue to slide between now and July 31, they would jump to surrender, become a seller, and that is when the likes of Drew Smyly and Mike Minor would be moved for livestock. What makes that interesting to me is that the Rangers are one of the 4 teams ahead of the Angels for that last playoff spot. Should they quit and sell, there would only be 3 teams to beat (a 25% improvement without doing anything). Two of those teams are the Red Sox and Rays, who still have 10 games head to head. The last team are the A’s, who may be about to run out of gas (above). And that is assuming that the Indians (or, less likely, the Twins) don’t falter. So, go ahead Rangers. Offer up Smyly to the Phillies......And Mike Minor? We’ll take him!...........


The Duffle Bag

These two kids from Philly are obviously under-aged. Once they grow up and become true Philly fans, all this nice stuff and hugs will be gone, mutha..............Job opening at FiveThirtyEight. Copy editor, which is pretty much what you people do to me every morning. You are all qualified. Trust me..........Astros bandwagon fans teaching future Astros bandwagon fans how to be Astros fans. Your team hits a home run, you throw it back, right?..........